Getting out in nature (daily, if possible), has become a far greater priority for me as of recent. I have always loved being outside; call me the "outdoorsy" type, if you wish! There's something to be said about the peace of mind and tranquility (not to mention the grounding effect) of being in tune with Mother Nature. Furthermore, when it comes to regular physical activity, more often than not, you'll find me engaged in physical activity outdoors, rather than in an indoor facility. With exposure to nature comes intake of vitamin D, fresh air, fresh smells, some peace and quiet (depending on where you are!) and moments to think about and reflect on the beauty around you, among other things! Mother Nature is certainly a stress management tool, as well! And, the best part about it...it's FREE! The best things in life...are FREE! (You knew that was coming!) ;)
So, with the BEAUTIFULLY-HOT summer Calgary, Alberta is experiencing this year (amidst the not-so-enjoyable smoky days from the very unfortunate forest fires burning in British Columbia), this blog post becomes a bit of a round-up of a few of Calgary's outdoor gems that I recently took time to enjoy. Discovering new places your city has to offer is always a fun adventure - here goes!
1. St. Patrick's Island - East Village (above-noted photograph)
St. Patrick's Island is a public park located at the junction of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, just northeast of downtown Calgary.
It is a 31-acre park, strategically designed to nourish the connection between people and nature, which it most certainly does!
Visitors to this park can expect to encounter and enjoy:
- Kid-friendly play areas
- Picnic areas (w/ ammenities)
- A fishing cove
- A boardwalk, amidst a natural wetland area
- Tranquil trails w/ native plant species
- An amphitheatre
- Stunning views of the city skyline and beyond!
Certainly a place to experience! While numerous, enjoyable events are hosted in this public park, choosing to visit this park on a day an event is not occurring provides a more relaxing experience!
2. Sandy Beach Park
Located along the Elbow River in the southwest quadrant of Calgary (below the ridge that is River Park), Sandy Beach Park is certainly a peaceful, urban escape. Whether it be for a stroll, picnic with family and/or friends, or a bit of rafting down the shallow river, this space is set up for an enjoyable time! An off-leash dog area is not too far away, either!
3. Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre
I had no idea this place even existed! In the heart of Inglewood, this gem of a spot is a completely natural environment that does not permit cyclists nor dogs (except those acting as assistance for people). The trails are open from sunrise to sunset; with 2 km of trails through forest and grassland, you're sure to hear and see a multitude of bird species, not to mention witness gorgeous butterflies flutter by! As you can see below, you might even witness a beautiful fawn cross your path!
So, I leave you with this: make it a priority for yourself (and your family) to enjoy as much time in nature as possible, even if it's a short, 20-minute walk in your neighbourhood - a little bit can go a long way! Do some research where you are living - what interesting spots remain to be discovered?